Investor wealth at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has crossed the Sh2 trillion mark for the first time in six months, driven by gains in large bank stocks and Safaricom in the past week.
The NSE opened the week with a valuation of Sh2 trillion -- though it retreated slightly to Sh1.99 trillion yesterday -- having gone up by Sh40 billion in a week. This is the highest market cap level since the end of November 2016.
Cooperative Bank, Safaricom and KCB Group have accounted for the bulk of the gains made in the past week, during which their share prices have risen by 17.8, 1.3 and 10.6 per cent respectively.
The recent uptick in the market has also meant that the two main indices are now in the black year-to-date.
"During the week, the equities market was on an upward trend, taking the year-to-date performances for the NSE 20 and NASI to 1.8 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.
"This performance was driven by gains in large cap stocks such as Co-operative Bank, KCB Group, Safaricom and Standard Chartered Bank," said Cytonn Investments in the latest NSE weekly analysis.
Co-operative Bank's gain has seen its own market capitalisation go up by Sh12.5 billion to Sh82.4 billion in the space of a week, while Safaricom has added Sh10 billion to hit Sh801.3 billion. KCB market value is up by Sh10.7 billion to Sh112 billion.
Seven out of the 11 listed bank banks saw their share prices gain last week, indicating that investors still see an upside in the stocks in spite of the rate cap on customer loans.
Safaricom was on the up after it announced a 27.1 per cent increase to Sh48 billion in its net profit in the year ending March 2017. The telco's shareholders are due to receive a dividend of 97 cents a share, from a total pay-out of Sh38 billion.
Dividends have become a major attraction for investors in the market, with the lower prices having raised the dividend yields across the bourse.
Banks such as Barclays (12.7 per cent) and Standard Chartered (10.2 per cent) are offering double digit yields that are competing with returns on short-term government paper.